Another Green Episode | Autoblog Podcast #665

In this week's Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder and West Coast Editor James Riswick for an episode dedicated to electric cars. First, they talk about what they've been driving, including the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the new base, rear-wheel-drive Porsche Taycan as well as the Polestar 2. Then they dive into some green news, including the reveal of the Audi E-Tron GT, the new Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV and plans to go electric by companies like General Motors and Jaguar Land Rover.

Video Transcript

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GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to "The Autoblog Podcast." I'm Greg Migliore. We've got a great show for you. Today, we're going to talk about a lot of things green. Now, before some of you, like, really hardcore enthusiasts just drop your phone or turn off the podcast, the first thing we're talking about is the Ford Mustang Mach-E. So you got to stick around for that, right? And frankly, General Motors is going to make all-electric cars in about 14 years. So hey, let's kind of embrace our future of all things green, and electric, and things like that-- but lots of cool things we're going to get through on this show.

John spent some time in the Porsche Taycan-- the rear-wheel drive version. I cannot wait to hear about what that was like-- the Polestar 2 as well, and, of course, the end of the Polestar 1. I'm going to bring in my co-host today, John Snyder, senior editor for all things green. What's going on, man?

JOHN SNYDER: Hey, how's it going? I'm just enjoying this cold weather. It's my kind of thing.

GREG MIGLIORE: Me too. I've shoveled snow four times this week, which is great.

JOHN SNYDER: That part's never fun.

GREG MIGLIORE: I don't mind it. It's a good workout. I leave a beer in the snow, and then when I'm done, there you go-- you're ready to go. It's your reward. Where they've also had snow, which I guess is really everywhere this week-- but also in Portland, West Coast editor James Riswick, how are you doing, man?

JAMES RISWICK: Good. Now, I will say, when you said we're talking about green cars, I did just formulate a list of my favorite green paint colors. So I'm going to have-- you're going to have to give me a couple of minutes here to scramble and just re-prepare myself for the podcast.

GREG MIGLIORE: Forest green, verdant green--

JAMES RISWICK: British racing green, yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: British racing green-- all things green. There you go, slime green.

JOHN SNYDER: Slime green is a good one.

GREG MIGLIORE: Slime green is a good one-- reminds me of that Ford Fiesta of about 10 years ago.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: Anyways, so that's what we've been driving-- a bunch of other news topics we're going to get into. There is a new Chevy Bolt, a new Audi E-tron. Again, they'll have a green theme, but they're also pretty cool things. So let's burn no more hot air-- to say nothing of fossil fuels. Let's talk about the Mach-E. Behind the scenes, Zac Palmer came to me about a couple of weeks ago and was like, hey, we have a bunch of cars we're backing up. We're going to get a Mach-E, which is a little unexpected, and this rear-wheel drive Taycan.

And I'm thinking to myself, OK, I already have our long-term Acura TLX. Everybody's kind of full. I should take one of these cars and write about it. After much deliberations and kind of a coin toss, I was like, I think I want to drive the Mach-E, which sent the Porsche out to Ann Arbor John's way. And yeah, I was pretty excited to get the Mach-E. It's to me like a seminal car for the industry for Ford, for Mustang.

James, you spent some time out there in Portland as well. Your luggage test I found particularly illuminating. You've got a lot of stuff in the back of this thing. And also your infotainment test I thought was pretty thorough, because nobody's going to buy this car for the infotainment system, if you will. But to me, I thought it was quite good. And I am no fan of sync or, frankly, touchpads. I am definitely the old man yelling at clouds.

But this to me was, like, the best Ford infotainment system, full stop, that I've used in quite some time in any form. But I'm curious-- what did you do with your plug-in Mustang, James?

JAMES RISWICK: Well, I actually did go on an extended-- usually every car I test, I take it on a 75-ish mile standardized test loop. But for longer first drive things, I do have a longer one. And also for electric ones, I go to see how far I can go. I did that with the Mustang Mach-E as well as the Polestar 2, which we'll talk about hopefully eventually. And it was over-- went 135 miles no problem-- wasn't sweating by the end of it.

And it's a circuitous road through the mountains, and the Mach-E was, indeed, genuinely fun to drive. Is it quite-- is it like a Mustang? No. But as I said on a previous podcast, the Mustang Mach-E is very much to me kind of like a Porsche Cayenne. Like, is a car in a Porsche like a 911 or a 718 is? No, but there's a lot of Porsche in it, especially as the generations went on. And I kind of equate that similarly to the Mach-E.

You know, it's not like a replacement for a Mustang, but what if more Fords were like the Mustang? I think that's a great thing. Why can't more Fords be like the coolest Ford. I don't see that as a bad thing. So-- but that's-- so I drove it a lot. I took the family for a drive in it, ran errands, just drove it as a regular car-- big fan of the Mach-E. And yeah, to the point about the infotainment system, it's the only Ford with it.

It's the Sync 4A. So a lot of cars-- Bronco, F-150, they have the latest Sync 4. But Mach-E has it, this 4A version, which is the jumbo 15.5-inch touchscreen. And besides just being just a bigger surface size, which is really what it is-- and the F-150 doesn't take full advantage of its extra size-- the one in the Mach-E does. It doesn't just try to cram as much crap onto the screen as possible, it basically just makes all the buttons bigger, and the displays bigger, and they're just easier and quicker to see what you need and press.

And frankly, that's kind of a safety thing, as far as I'm concerned-- it's less distracting. So I generally-- really impressed by the Mach-E. It's so well-executed. It's a cool electric car. We need more of those because so many electric cars are kind of small, dorky things. There's just not really a lot of shock that people haven't wanted them, and why the Tesla has managed to break out in the way it has. People view them as cool. I think the Mach-E is cool.

GREG MIGLIORE: I agree. I think this got a ton of attention when it was parked in my driveway. I mean, just people walking their dogs would stop, turn their heads, look around the car. Their dogs would maybe sniff it. People were, like, into it, you know? And I think that's cool.

I myself felt cool driving it, if you will. The one I had was grabber blue. It was first edition, so that means it had the all-wheel drive set up-- some other, like, trim pieces, but standard Mach-E, if you will. And you know, all that low-end torque, it's a single gear setup, if you will-- very quick-- very quick. I actually took it-- I have all sorts of routes. Sometimes when I get cars and I want to test them, I purposely have no route.

Sometimes I map it out, like, where am I going to go? So I drove around sort of this kind of wooded suburban area by my house. Frankly, I wanted to make sure-- because it was so cold when I had this car. It was, like, literally, like, 8 degrees-- I was a little worried. I was like, I mean, I don't think-- I know Ford cold weather tests these things in the Arctic, but on the off chance, like, the batteries freeze or something, I'm going to stay kind of local where I can call my wife to come and get me if need be.

So I did that. Once I was confident, which took about literally five minutes-- like, OK, yeah this works like a normal car-- it's all good-- I actually drove down to the Paquette factory in Detroit, which is where they made the first Model Ts. It's 117 years old. And it's just a nice drive road-- you know, like, suburban roads, urban roads, like, downtown, expressways-- like, just everything. It really runs the gamut. So it was cool-- I got some pictures out of it.

You know, Henry Ford was good friends with Thomas Edison, so I kind of felt like I was making my own history here. Plus, I thought, we've already driven this car, done a first drive, like, a second drive-- check out James' Buying Guide-- plug on that, which just went up today or yesterday. And I was like, you know what? I'm going to do whatever I want with this thing. Let's try and follow the footsteps of history here. And so that was cool. Yeah, it's really-- go ahead.

JAMES RISWICK: No, I was going to say to-- well, just to move-- you're talking about the cold weather element. And the car actually charts that for you. It will actually tell you, like, 4% lost due to external temperature when I drove the car, 10% loss of the climate system, which is related to external temperature. So as a result, like, you do have less range than you would if everything was just absolutely perfect.

And that's the same if you live in Arizona, you're going to lose range too with extreme heat. So it's something to wor-- and it does actually speak to, if you do live in an extreme climate one way or the other, the importance of getting extended range if you're actually going to-- like, I don't think if I owned-- I don't know how often I would actually drive this thing any long distance. I'm not going to drive to the coast in a Mustang Mach-E from here in Portland, which is about two hours away, because you're going to have to either hope that you can get back or hope that you find a-- or hope that there is actually an open fast-charger out there.

It's just not really viable. But frankly, I think EVs at this point are-- you kind of have to have a two-person house anyway-- or a two-car house anyway for them if you do take lots of road trips. But--

GREG MIGLIORE: So from my extended drive, if you will, it ended up being 64.6 miles, an hour and 49 minutes-- which, again, I went all over metro Detroit-- 21% climate use. By the time I finished, it was 23 degrees. So the temperature had warmed up a little bit. The route was 65%, 4% for the accessories, then 10% for the external temperature. So again, props to that-- like, just that whole screen-- all the stuff you can do out of it.

You can shift-- not shift, but go into one-panel mode just by going, like, boop, one button-- change the driving modes from whisper, to engage, to-- I almost cringe to write this-- unbridled.

JAMES RISWICK: Oh, it's so cheeseball.

GREG MIGLIORE: I know, I know. But that's what they went with. I mean--

JOHN SNYDER: Those are really good tools for-- especially a lot of people buying the Mach-E, it'll be their first EV. There'll probably be Ford people who have driven other Fords, and they are getting into an EV for the first time. And having that information at your fingertips really helps you sort of understand the capabilities of the car and, you know, get over that anxiety you might have about taking it on an all-day drive around metro Detroit or driving it in the winter.

Yeah, just knowing what's going on underneath it all, really, I think it's a good educational tool. It's useful and practical, but it just helps people understand what's going on more, which I think is important as, you know, more and more people are going to be getting into EVs going forward.

JAMES RISWICK: And I should actually point out one thing about the whole range thing. So my calculated range was 228.8 miles. That compares to 270 that is the official extended range. Now, that was me driving through the mountains. I was not trying to be economical, and also 14% lost due to the temperature and climate. However, after doing that drive, I didn't completely top up the battery. I just plugged it in to my garage-- the same outlet that you could plug a toaster into.

I never refilled the battery all the way, and yet I was still able to take just basically a two-hour drive with my family out into the Columbia River Gorge-- again, just kind of a highway journey, and then also with some elevation-- came back, and still had some more than enough range back over. So over the course of a weekend, I was just basically able to trickle it, keep it going. And I think that's what most people do.

It's not just, like, drain, refill, drain, refill. I was able to use this thing even after almost using all of it-- all of the range-- throughout the weekend normally, and went on a pretty significant drive just plugging it in to the toaster outlet, which I don't recommend doing. If you have an electric car, buy a damn charger-- you need one. But it basically what I'm saying is range wasn't really that much of an issue for me.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's same here. I do not have a car charger, but it comes with what they call the Ford mobile charger, if you will. And it's right in the back next to the spare tire and the battery. You just pulled it out. I am ashamed to say I still have my Christmas lights actually set up. We have a tradition in my house-- we put them up late October when it's still warm out, and we take them down. And by we, I mean, you know, it's what I like to do-- and I take them down on st. Patrick's Day.

So they're up about maybe a quarter of the year. Anyways, I pulled aside the extension cord and plugged in the Ford mobile charger into my own toaster thing in the garage. Yeah, it was-- the first time I did it, I think I only got about five miles of range out of it, which I was like, well, is this outlet maybe not working as well as I thought? Is-- what's going on here?

But the second time I did it, I believe I got about 10 miles, which is in line with, like, Ford's projections that say you'll get an average of 3 miles of range per hour. So I left it in for, like, a little over three hours I think. I was like, OK, that makes sense. And it was, you know, fine. I would have actually left it far longer had I not had even more Christmas decorations in the middle of the, like, where the car would go. And thus, the car had to stay outside with the garage door open, which at a certain point, you don't really want to have your garage door open when it's 8 degrees out.

So that's a long-winded way of saying, the Ford mobile charger, I think, is very cool. And I think it's very usable. You don't necessarily have to have a charger for your home, but I would get one for sure. And--

JOHN SNYDER: There's some-- there's some automakers that their mobile chargers include a standard, 110, 120-volt, as well as a 240-volt plug. So if you have, like, a plug for, you know, a washer, dryer, welder in your garage, you can just plug your mobile charger into that and get level two charging basically from your mobile charger, which is pretty fantastic.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, and actually to, perhaps, step on news later, but Chevrolet just with the new Bolt has announced that it will cover the cost of installing the 240-volt outlet in your house, or in your garage, or wherever you need-- not a charger, but the actual outlet, because the Bolt now comes with one of those dual-level charge cords.

JOHN SNYDER: That's fantastic.

GREG MIGLIORE: That is very cool.

JAMES RISWICK: Now, they did-- now, there are some exceptions. Like, the GM representative said, like, if you live in, like, a 1910 farmhouse and, like, you want to plug in, like, something into your carriage house that's 25 feet away from your ancient home, then, no, they probably won't be able to do that many thousands of dollars upgrade for you. But generally speaking, they think economies to scale, they'll be able to make it work. So that's a pretty cool thing.

JOHN SNYDER: That is really cool.

GREG MIGLIORE: For a lot of people, I think the Mustang could be their gateway to electric life, if you will, because Ford is such a mainstream brand. And Mustang has so much crossover appeal-- pun intended. And for me, it really-- you know, obviously, I've had many electric test cars, but this is the first one I've had for a few days where it was probably necessary to charge it just to, like, maintain charge and top it off.

It made me think about how this would work if I ever were to actually buy an electric car. I'd obviously have to clean my garage, for starters, to make it a little more feasible. But for me, I left really thinking, this is really doable for me. You know, it's not just a theoretical construct. It's something I would enjoy doing, I'd enjoy that lifestyle. You know, I even was playing around with the Ford pass app at night just to like try to, like, well, where's the nearest charger? Or what kind of charge do they have?

And like right now, in some ways, it's almost like this club. And it's like, that's kind of a cool thing. And as electric vehicles become more and more common, you know, you're just going to have more-- that's a good thing. The infrastructure will be there. The chargers will be there-- things like that. But for now, it's just kind of, like, a different kind of enthusiasm for me.

I was really into it, if that makes sense, while I had this car. And I'll say this-- it did feel like a Mustang-- maybe not the Mustang, if that makes sense. But I guess we got to address the elephant, the horse in the room. And yeah, I mean, from the front, it looked like a Mustang to me. From the back, it didn't. I also didn't care.

I was like, this is Ford's, like-- they're playing their best hand is what they're doing, putting their best foot forward. Let's see-- we're going to try and make an electric car-- OK, what's our strongest brand? Well, OK, there's the F-150. Well, Mustang, OK, let's do that. What are people buying? Crossovers. Put it all together, there is your sandwich.

You're trying to win here. You're not trying to, like, appease everybody and everybody's sense of what something was since 1964 and a half. You got to go for the win. To me, this makes a ton of sense. And right now, you can still get a 5-liter V8 Mustang coupe if you want. So for me, there was, like, zero dissonance. But you know, that's my little homily on, is it a Mustang?

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, Ford seemed to know that we'd all sort of get used to the concept at some point, even if we weren't quite sure of it at first. But yeah, I think even I've come around to the idea of a sub-brand thing.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I think that's a fair play is make it a sub-brand.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, again, like, more Mustangs-- cool. Just like there's a Bronco and a Bronco Sport-- they are both kind of-- it's the same kind of thing. Like, when they announced Bronco, they specifically said, this is a new sub-brand. They didn't-- they probably should have said that a little harder on Mustang Mach-E. And maybe they learned from that and did that with Bronco. But I have no problem with that. Why not? Bring it on.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. For me, this is the car I was probably the most excited to drive in quite some time. And I was fortunate-- I drove the Defender a while ago, and just some other very interesting cars. But just as far as, like, its place for Ford and then for the industry, you know, this one stood out from the herd. I'm sorry, I'm just going to keep dropping these bad puns into this podcast until you guys stop me.

But it really did. Like, this was not just a normal cool car. This was, like, to me, a step forward, a new strategy, a new idea where Ford may be in the next five, 10 years. Like, this is where they are now, and it's pointing the way to where they're going to be. So--

JAMES RISWICK: And speaking--

GREG MIGLIORE: I liked it.

JAMES RISWICK: And speaking of-- we touched on Bronco, that's a sub-brand. How about an electric Bronco? You know?

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, for sure.

JAMES RISWICK: Bronco Mach-E, and they're in bed with Rivian, to some extent-- so cross-company learnings there to making an off-road SUV. That would be super cool.

JOHN SNYDER: It would be. That sure would be.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, I suppose we should transition to a brand that we would have had a lot of the navel-gazing about-- like, is it a Porsche-- a few years ago. Now, they make crossovers, sedans, all sorts of things. And you had the sedan, the electric sedan, the Taycan. John, rear-wheel drive, that's pretty awesome.

JOHN SNYDER: Rear-wheel drive, yes-- it was fun. I had it for a day, and we had just gotten a bunch of snow-- two days of snow. And this rear-wheel drive Porsche lands in my driveway-- luckily on performance winter tires. But it was great. It was fine in the snow. It was a blast.

But yeah, I just drove the snot out of it when I could and drove it pretty normally too. You know, I was driving-- our road doesn't get plowed very well. So the rear end was pretty stable. It felt like it was doing an impression of an all-wheel drive car.

It wasn't getting too out of hand. It was definitely slower when it was losing traction. But other than that, it felt super stable. But yeah, this was my first time driving the Taycan. And I'm glad I started with the merely 5.1-second 0 to 60 version, which is still fast. That's--

JAMES RISWICK: That's almost the Mustang Mach-E premium all-wheel drive 80-kilowatt hour extended range.

JOHN SNYDER: I mean, I'm trying to think of what a rear-wheel drive Taycan would be like with the power of the Turbo S. It would just break traction immediately, and it would just-- you'd be sitting there waiting for the stability control to sort things out. So it makes total sense that this is the least powerful of them. But it's also Porsche's most powerful base car that they've ever introduced.

So yeah, it definitely feels like a Porsche. It feels like an evolution for the brand for sure, though, in a much better way to me than the crossovers felt like when those were coming out. This feels like they're really infusing this car with the Porsche spirit. You know, it's not a 911, but it's just as fun in a lot of ways.

So I really enjoyed it. I found an empty parking lot and just-- you know, it was unplowed. And I just went out there and did donuts for a while-- turned off the traction control and did donuts, because I could. I got rear-wheel drive Porsche in the snow with winter tires, go for it.

GREG MIGLIORE: Case closed, right?

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah. But you know, it starts around $80,000. But, boy, you can option it up really, really fast from there. I tried going through the configurator. This was a eurospec Taycan. But I tried going through the US configurator and, you know, picking some of the equivalent options, and it was above $115 grand before I gave up.

But there's just endless, endless options. You can choose the Taycan badge-- the nameplate lettering. You can choose different colors for that. You can choose different weaves for the floor mats, things like that. And I think the beauty of the rear-wheel drive Taycan is just that it's sort of very simple, very straightforward. And I wouldn't want to muck it up with all those extra accouterments.

But yeah some of the things are neat, like the optional passenger side display. I didn't have a passenger in there with me at all when I had it, but that's kind of a neat thing to have. And there are things like-- you can still get, like, sport chrono package and Porsche stability management, upgrade suspension, and this trick coded breaks that Porsche offers. And you can really get the price up pretty high, at which point, you know, why not just go for the all-wheel drive-- you know, the 4S or something?

JAMES RISWICK: No, I have a very-- I have a very important question for you, John.

JOHN SNYDER: Sure.

JAMES RISWICK: Was the interior blackberry purple?

JOHN SNYDER: No, no.

JAMES RISWICK: Oh no.

JOHN SNYDER: I think it was just black.

JAMES RISWICK: Oh. You can get it in purple. They didn't give it to you in purple-- you can also get it-- like, there is a rose-- like, a pink one going around California.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah. Yeah, the berry pink whatever it's called-- this one was-- I think it's, like, ice gray metallic or something like that-- so not as flashy as some of the Taycan colors you can get. But you know, it still had some appearance upgrades on it. It definitely looked cool.

JAMES RISWICK: Did it have the-- well, because the base wheels on the Taycan that they've introduced--

JOHN SNYDER: Oh, yeah, no--

JAMES RISWICK: Are really unfortunate.

JOHN SNYDER: No, this had the Mission E wheels on it, which are way better looking.

JAMES RISWICK: OK.

JOHN SNYDER: 21-inchers I believe.

JAMES RISWICK: They're bad.

JOHN SNYDER: I know. I know.

JAMES RISWICK: They're like Taycan aero wheels. They are really bad.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, they're pretty dumpy looking. But this one was way better. There are some cool wheel options out there for the Taycan.

JAMES RISWICK: You just have to spend $3 grand on them.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, that is one of the things I would probably spend money on if I were getting a base Taycan. I would get different wheels.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, I'd get different wheels. I'd get the purple seatbelts, just because, you know, why not? But yeah, I was configurating them yesterday after reading your story, and it's really hard to keep it under $100.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah.

JAMES RISWICK: Because even if you just add-- like, adaptive cruise is almost, like, $3 grand, when that's included in a lot of cars now.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah.

JAMES RISWICK: And if you wanted, like, heated seats, and if you wanted them ventilated-- it's like, I appreciate the customizability of Porsches, because that's always cool, but some of it's more like-- that's good, but it is, like, some basic options that they really upcharge you on.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah. I mean, that's Porsche's MO, like, across the board. It's part of being a Porsche buyer is having to deal with that. But yeah, I think you can get away with a pretty stripped-out Taycan and, you know, still having a great time. It's just super fun-- and you know, a good, comfortable, useful car to drive too-- lots of room. And you can easily daily it, and it'd be a fun commute every day.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's a beautiful car. I mean, I randomly-- one of my neighbors randomly had one. I'm not quite sure if he owns it or what's going on there. I just saw it. And so I was the guy with the dog sniffing at it the other day out walking by. And I was just like, that's a beautiful car. You know, I mean, they really get all the design elements right, in my opinion-- all the good things from the Mission E I think are there, the stuff that maybe deserved to get toned down a little bit, they toned down in the right way. And you know, it's-- I mean, this is another car that's on the list that I really want to drive this year. I'm very psyched about it. It seems like the execution is there.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah. I-- you know, I think the base Taycan is. You know, all money aside, the base Taycan is probably the one I would still get, just because I like rear-wheel drive, and I just like the thinking behind this. And I like to work a little bit for the performance. I like to tease it out-- although with any electric, it's all, like, right there right off the bat.

But I do like having to tease the car a little bit to get it to do some fun things, whereas the higher trims-- it's just-- they're nuts. I won't go as far as calling them ludicrous, because they're slightly-- Tesla's got a slight acceleration edge over Porsche, but I don't need any of that. I don't want that, frankly. So yeah, the base Taycan is a great thing to put out there for the people who want to get into a Taycan and don't want to spend over $100 grand.

GREG MIGLIORE: So these are two Tesla fighters, if you will. I know for some people, there's a Tesla and nothing else will do, because that's, like, the electric brand. But whether it's the Taycan from Porsche-- a couple other things we're going to talk about, actually-- like the Bolt, obviously the Mach-E. I mean, to me, if you're in the market for an SUV right now, there's a lot of things you can look at.

And in some ways, like, I would say the Mustang Mach-E is every bit as cool as a Tesla. It's not a Tesla. And you know, again, that's, like, you want the brand-- some people can only have Nike sneakers or whatever. You know, I sort of get that. But I mean, when it comes to, like, a Porsche, yeah, Porsche is a pretty strong brand, you know?

No one's going to look at that and say, oh, that's not cool, or say, you know, you're a loser-- you drive that Porsche. You know, it's-- it's a very cool-looking car. It is a Porsche, and it's electric. So to me, like, I don't know, I think Tesla's in it now. In some ways, I think they have helped move the industry up-- the rising tide carries boats. But there's a lot of boats out there now.

JAMES RISWICK: The other thing we could see is because of the ubiquity now of the Tesla Model 3-- and I no longer live in Southern California, but I can only imagine-- and I do know that they are everywhere.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

JAMES RISWICK: And they don't look all that different from the Model S, or the Model Y, or the Model X, for that matter. And the more they're everywhere, the more people in Southern California-- and, let's face it, that's who mostly buys-- a lot of the sales are going there of Teslas and electric cars-- they're going to go, well, everybody has a Tesla. I can't have one of those.

I want the next thing. So I'm going to get a Taycan, I'm going to get a Mustang Mach-E, I'm going to get one of these other things. Maybe I'll be really different and get a Polestar 2-- and maybe they should, because it's really good. You know, I think that could come-- that could easily start happening, because Tesla doesn't-- they have a Model S that's coming that's going to be upgraded with an airplane controller or something like that. But it's not all that different. And the cool sheen may soon start to wear off a bit. And then we also have Rivian coming. So you know, that could certainly happen.

GREG MIGLIORE: I mean, even in Michigan, Teslas are getting to be quite ubiquitous. The number of Model 3s that you see on the road are-- I mean, just, they're out there. You know, it's-- they're everywhere.

JOHN SNYDER: I remember when they were first coming out, and people would be like, oh, online-- they'd be like, oh, I saw one today in California. I saw one-- and people were tracking the VINs and the sales. And now they're everywhere-- good for them. I think that's a really good thing for-- I mean, it's obviously a good thing for Tesla, but I think it's a good thing for EVs in general. Thank you, Tesla, for making EVs cool.

GREG MIGLIORE: If you really want to stand out, you need to drive a Karma, or a Fisker, or a Fisker Karma if you really want to go back in time. An '08 Fisker Karma-- pretty cool.

JOHN SNYDER: I see a couple of those around Ann Arbor. There's a white one.

GREG MIGLIORE: Should we talk about the Polestars maybe?

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: You teased it out there, James. Take it away.

JAMES RISWICK: Sure. Well, the Polestar 2, it's a pretty different car. Let's put aside the fact that it's electric. It's like this-- it has extra ground clearance, but it's not an SUV. And it has this-- basically, it kind of has this weird, like, modern AMC Eagle thing going on, which is weird. But then despite being-- despite having ground clearance, it also handles extremely well.

It has available Ohlins dampers. Now, this is going to-- so the good thing about these is they do a tremendous job of keeping the car flat through corners or maintaining composure of ensuring this feels like an honest to goodness performance car. And seriously, that's exactly what the Polestar 2 is. But it's also capable of delivering a firm but perfectly comfortable ride. But here's the catch-- this is an adjustable suspension-- these Ohlins dampers.

But rather than simply pressing a button on the center console, which is the totally normal thing to do these days, you literally have to climb under the car, remove a panel, turn an actual knob on the dampers. So now, some people will go, sweet, something to wrench-- that's cool. But most others will go, yeah, I will never do that. Now, before I got the car, Polestar said it would show-- the car would show up with a quote, "pretty stiff setting" to show off the handling.

That immediately said a red flag up for me. I had visions of just some brittle, horrible, back-crushing ride. So I asked them to instead set it to a more comfortable mode, knowing that Volvo's past attempts at sportier suspension on big wheels usually results in one of those kind of back-breaking, firm, nervous rides-- just not really quite got it there. Now, I can't comment about what that stiff ride actually would have been, but I can say comfort was perfect.

It wasn't like Lincoln Continental comfort or anything. I'd say it was like an old BMW firm, but well damped. You have no problem driving it for a long time-- you know, like, sports sedan comfortable. And this is a sports sedan. And again, its handling was exceptional. So really, the dampers might as well not be adjustable at all, since it's so hard to change them, and just because comfort could just stand on its own-- just, you got it right that one time, don't worry too much about changing them.

Which really brings up, we're not entirely sure how this car handles or rides with just the regular dampers-- it's a question to answer at a later time. But it has one-pedal driving. And besides being great for driving in traffic, it actually add some extra engagement when driving on a mountain road for instance. It becomes a challenge to actually time lifting off the accelerator just the right time and just the right amount to maintain a good rhythm and speed.

Similarly, around town, you learn to perfectly time lifting off when you're approaching red lights. It's weird, and it may sound nuts, kind of hard to understand what I'm talking about, but it's oddly engaging. It's kind of weird. And cars are increasingly less engaging these days. And anything extra in terms of engagement is a good thing.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, that's a feature that I missed in the Taycan. I wish I could have done one-pedal driving in that. I feel like, you know, it should be a standard that an EV has that as an option-- whether it's multiple settings or just sort of an on-off switch for one-pedal driving. I think they should all just have it, because it's a really fun way to drive.

And this is a treat for me, James, because I've been preaching my love of the Polestar 2 since I drove it this summer. And we haven't really had a chance to talk about it much yet. So it's fun hearing your opinions about it, because I just love that car so much. It's-- I think it looks cool. I could see why some people might not dig the looks, but I think it looks really cool.

It's got, you know, a lot of the stuff that I want without a lot of the crap that I don't want. And yeah, the performance is awesome. It's fast. It's very stable. And yeah, it handles incredibly well. It's just a super great first all-electric car for what is now becoming an all-electric car brand. I like the Polestar 2 more than the Polestar 1. I thought it was more mentally engaging to drive than the Polestar 1.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, that's good, because the Polestar 1 is done after this model year. As we reported this week, that's it for the Polestar 1. For me, that's kind of a natural changing of the guard, if you will, is Polestar-- and then just vehicles in general are going through these cycles where, you know, they're being replaced by something new, and probably better, and more special.

So you know, to your point earlier, James, the Polestar 2 really has a distinctive look. And if you're somewhere where you want to stand out-- I mean, first of all, I don't think Polestar has much of a brand recognition, good or bad, outside of, you know, some of the enthusiast pursuits. So if you roll up in a Polestar, that's kind of cool. It's a conversation starter. You can obviously make the connection that it's owned by Volvo and, you know, there's all these other things. But yeah, I mean, I think there's a lot of potential here for Polestar. So--

JOHN SNYDER: One of my favorite things about that car was the sound of the turn signal. It just sounded like some weird electromagnetic pulse. And it was like, OK. As soon as I'm pulling out of the parking lot for the first time with this thing, I'm like, oh, this car is different. This car is its own thing, it's its own personality, it's going to stand out.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think Polestar speaks to the fact that there's a lot of room for niche brands in the United States right now. For a long time, it was the big three out of Detroit, than it was the import brands. And there was, like, basically nine or 10 brands, companies total. That was the automotive market. Now we're looking at things like, well, what's Peugeot going to do? Alfa, obviously, is back.

There's so many different brands out there. I mean, heck, Stellantis has more brands right now than you used to be able to buy just in a normal market. So I think the proliferation is a good thing. And I think especially when you're talking about electric propulsion, people wanted a different maybe sense of identity with their purchase. And you know, again, that's where Polestar has got a lot of room to play-- a lot of potential, I think, too. OK, sounds good-- anything else on the Polestar there, James?

JAMES RISWICK: Only that you really can't buy them in many places, or lease them right now. They really need to work on the widespread, country-wide distribution. But other than that, not really.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, sounds good. Let's talk some news. The E-Tron-- this is sort of a cousin, if you will, of the Taycan-- geez, I actually thought of the word, cousin, then I read your headline, John. So--

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, the E-Tron GT.

GREG MIGLIORE: Beautiful car.

JOHN SNYDER: It really is. It's gorgeous. And yeah, it shares a lot of, basically, the same battery platform and all that with the Porsche Taycan-- same two-speed rear trans-axle. And yeah, it just-- if you want a different flavor of Taycan, maybe-- I don't know, not having driven it, I can't say, you know, how similar or different it is to the Taycan. But I'm sure it's got some different dynamics, whatever. But I think it just-- it looks awesome. And if the Taycan is not your cup of tea, maybe the E-Tron GT is.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's very aggressive looking-- I mean, like, really aggressive looking. Like, it looks like some sort of fish from the deep that is coming to get you. I mean, in some ways, it's almost over-styled. I almost maybe lean towards Taycan. But I mean, like you John, I'm just looking at the pictures here-- a lot going on, though, with this thing.

JAMES RISWICK: Someone in Audi has anger issues. All their cars look very angry-- they're just angry at you, like, they're coming to get you. The interiors are very, like, brutal-- like, very angular and very "Blade Runner." Yeah.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, it's definitely got the sporty look to it. Looking at the RS, which there's two versions-- and the naming is a little weird. One's the E-Tron GT Quattro, and then there's the higher performance RS E-Tron GT. But they're all all-wheel drive and, yes, same basically-- very similar to the Taycan with the super-fast charging.

Audi says that the GT, which has basically the performance-plus battery of the Taycan-- the RS GT charges at 270 kilowatts, which can do from 5% to 80% in 22 to 23 minutes. That's assuming you can find a charger that's capable of that out in public that's, you know, not broken too-- that's another problem. But yeah, it's got all the good stuff from the Taycan and then, you know, just a different flavor of aesthetics and things like that-- and probably some different driving dynamics too.

But I'm excited to see what Audi does with the names of the cars when they stop naming them all just E-Tron something, because it's getting a little ridiculous and a little confusing.

GREG MIGLIORE: I am very confused by the E-Tron, the Quattro, and the RS, like, just recipe--

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, both all-wheel drive.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

JAMES RISWICK: And the E-Tron was also, like, an A3 hatchback plug-in hybrid too originally.

GREG MIGLIORE: One thing they never did was in our E-Tron, which they were supposed to do-- I remember seeing it at the Detroit Auto Show in, like, '09-- I don't know, I feel like we're about 10 years overdue on that one. I don't think that's actually happening.

JOHN SNYDER: Well, they had one for a little while, but, you know, very limited. How long-- it was-- they sold maybe-- I think maybe double-digits of it. So--

GREG MIGLIORE: Blink and you missed it, I guess.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, it was that sort of thing. But they did sell one for a little bit.

JAMES RISWICK: I guess they could now trying to do a sub-brand with E-Tron. Like, they're kind of doing that, except the E-Tron is a small SUV. And then there's the E-Tron sportback, then the E-Tron GT, which has absolutely nothing to do with the regular E-Tron. And yeah, it is confusing.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's-- yeah. But speaking of maybe new cars that are a little easier to break down, the Chevy Bolt--

JAMES RISWICK: Confusing. Yeah, you know, if I was sitting-- like, they did-- I was sitting in on the virtual press conference on that, and I think if I had been in-person, and not in a virtual room with 114 other people, and already in minute 40 of this thing, I would have asked, are you a little concerned that you're now selling two electric vehicles that look virtually identical and are only differentiated by the letter U?

Like, they're very similar. Like, they're-- the difference-- they're like 3 extra inches of rear seat legroom, and some styling tweaks, and a reduction in nine miles of range. And that's pretty much the difference between the Bolt EV and the Bolt EUV and $2,000, to the point that you wonder, why did they keep the other one? Why don't you just make the EUV the new Bolt? Like, why are you doing two versions? A little confused-- don't know why they're bothering.

JOHN SNYDER: Well, I'll find out for you next week probably, knock on wood everything goes smoothly. I may have an opportunity to drive it next week and see if it actually, you know, feels that different. You know, when I was at the EV day back right in late February, I think, early March at GM's Design Center in Warren, I got to see-- it wasn't quite finished-- didn't have these headlights on it that we see now on the production version.

But yeah, they had them side by side. And you couldn't really tell the difference by looking at them. The EUV looked taller, which it's not taller. It was an illusion of that 3 extra inches of wheelbase and maybe, what, like, 6 inches of overall length-- yeah, very, very similar cars. I agree. You could probably just keep the EUV and-- I don't know-- I don't know what the argument is for the keeping the Bolt-- keeping the regular Bolt and selling it alongside the Bolt EUV. I haven't heard that argument. Maybe there's something compelling about it. But I don't know.

JAMES RISWICK: Oh, they're just so-- you know, they're just so similar. Like, I could see like if the EUV got a lot bigger, and was, like, $6,000 more expensive, and it lost 20 to 30 miles of range as a result of that-- and now you have a smaller, cheaper one. And, like, I think that's kind of what we were all originally thinking when they were like, oh, crossover based on the Bolt. OK, that's kind of-- but this is, like, so similar, that it just seems like, yeah, what's the point? If it's only $2 grand difference-- by the way, the EUV is cheaper than the regular Bolt EV was before, because they dropped their price by $5 grand on the regular EV. So yeah, it's curious.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's an odd play. The only thing I can think of is maybe optically, if they were to, like, rule out the new EUV as the new Bolt, if you will-- and then the range actually drops, well, that's a bad look. That being said, I think you could explain that away by saying, well, we made it bigger to make it appeal to more customers. And who cares about 9 miles? You know, like, I think there was a play there.

It's a little odd to do it like this. I mean, maybe in their head, they're looking at these almost as, like, trim levels, whereas, like, we're trying to separate them more than even Chevy is. I don't know, but it's a little confusing. I actually saw the Bolt EUV last night for the first time. In a very rare occurrence, the Red Wings were on TV. I am a streamer, I don't have cable. So that means we don't get any local sports affiliates anymore, because the local Fox Sports affiliate is no longer available on streaming. It's a big controversy.

That being said, there was a random national TV hockey game on last night-- the Red Wings versus Chicago. And because there's no fans in, like, the stands, they have all sorts of weird sponsorship tarps and things. And then right behind the Red Wings goalie was the Bolt EUV. So I'm, like, literally pausing and rewinding, like, well, wait a minute, that looks different. And exactly like what John said, I'm like, is that thing bigger?

It's, like, a total illusion. And of course, I'm trying to watch the hockey game and see what's going on here. And it was weird. It was also-- I mean, mainly, I was just excited to see literally live hockey for the first time in a year involving the Red Wings. But yeah, I mean, my first take was that crossover looks pretty good, but it also seemed a little bit like it had maybe been in the dryer a little too long and come out a little awkward. So I was like, well, that looks like the Bolt, but it also kind of looks like a Chevy Blazer. Like, what's going on there?

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah. For one, I will apologize, because I'm sitting in my garage, and the water heater just came on. So if I've gotten a little louder, sorry. But normally when I write, like, new car news articles, I don't try to explain what the car looks like, because you could look at the pictures. In this case, I felt you needed to point out just that you were, in fact, looking at different cars.

But I will say one thing we didn't touch on is that the regular EV and the EUV are different looking than it was before the original design. And I think it's a very successful redesign. It looks, to an earlier point, less tall and dorky. It's a success-- like, before, it kind of had that Vincent d'Onofrio from "Men in Black" pulled-back face thing going on. And that's not there anymore. I think it looks pretty good, looks pretty cool. I don't know which one looks better, but they definitely look-- the regular one looks much better, much cooler, less dorky than it did before.

GREG MIGLIORE: Which "Law and Order" was Vincent d'Onofrio in? Like, the fourth one-- it wasn't the original one or the SVU, it was, like, the third one, like, "Law and Order"-- I don't know.

JOHN SNYDER: Nebraska. "Law and Order Nebraska."

GREG MIGLIORE: "Law and Order Nebraska." There you go, it's a tough one. But yeah. So that's a Chevy Bolt EUV.

JAMES RISWICK: Yoove.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I guess-- you know what we should probably talk about real quick here though is GM says they're going to be all carbon neutral, largely electric, by 2035. And then, interestingly, we've seen a lot of similar announcements in the last subsequent days. You know, I think it's easy to, like, make this big, ambitious, you know, idealistic position. Sure, sounds good-- do it.

I also think they lose nothing by saying this 14 years in the future, you know? Like, none of the people in 2035 are going to be, probably, around to, like, sort of be left to answer for it if they're still making V8 Silverados. I don't know-- I mean, I generally think it's a good thing. I think it's a way for GM as, like, an iconic, you know, American company to try to show leadership. But I mean, I don't know-- will it happen? Who knows? They say it will.

JAMES RISWICK: Even, like, if they are still building, like, Silverado HDs with V8 engines or turbo diesels, if everything else they sell is electric or electrified, cool. Like, that's kind of mission accomplished. Like, that's fine. Like, electric may not for everything. But if the vast majority of America's and the world's vehicular fleet is electric, or just very low-carbon emitting, great.

Like, if we have a stump-pulling F-350s around and naturally-aspirated V12 Ferraris that get driven 800 miles a year, who cares? Like, that's totally fine. Like, you just go after the big chunk, which is what everybody is driving every single day. And that's the big thing. If they're saying that we're going to try as many cars as we can be electric by 2035, great. It's good to have ambitious goals.

I don't remember which car company said 2050, but that just seemed like, oh, well that's nice. Why don't you just say the year 2850-- it's coming with the next generation Enterprise. Like, who cares? That's so far off. But 35, that's ambitious-- good for them.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think absolutely politically, it helps them. Yeah, go ahead, John.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, it does seem, you know, optimistic. But James' point is dead-on-- if they can get most of the passenger cars electric, that's a huge, huge reduction in carbon emissions. And then if they're offsetting their carbon from internal combustions through whatever programs-- whether it's reforestation, or carbon sequestering, or whatever technology we have to help remove carbon-- I think still plants are the best way-- then good for them.

And who knows what liquid fuels will look like, you know, in 14, 15, 20, maybe, years? There could be a lot of renewable fuels that we just haven't really thought about now or haven't found a way to bring the price down yet that could essentially be carbon neutral as well. So we'll see.

I don't think it really works to tell people, hey, we're going to come and take your V8 away from you. That just pisses people off, especially Americans. We don't like being told what to do. But I think if you make a lot of really good EVs that people want to go out and buy, and then still have, you know, your carbon-offset ice vehicles, I think that's great.

JAMES RISWICK: Well, look at the F-150. The F-150 hybrid is fantastic. It's powerful. It gets the best fuel economy. It has payload-towing just fine. And it will power your house when you don't have power anymore. Like, it literally has a generator in the back. It's a great feature. People-- there was a news story today, people in Texas are using it already for that very reason. So once you see the advantages that come from it, like, cool.

JOHN SNYDER: Yes. It's-- I know there's some concerns about the grid being able to handle it. But these things are getting worked on simultaneously. I think by the time most cars are electric, you know, hopefully most energy will be renewable, and energy storage and transmission will be in a better state. And yeah, I think it's good to set goals like this. But yeah, you're right-- the 2051-- I forgot who that was. But that was just like, come on.

JAMES RISWICK: Polite clap-- oh good, nice.

GREG MIGLIORE: 2051, there is a good chance-- maybe not a good chance, but there's a solid chance none of us will be around in 2051. I mean, you know, judging-- but I'm pretty sure I know what your ages are, hopefully we're around, but you might not be. I mean, that's-- at that point, you're going to be talking about probably your seventh decade-- getting up there.

So Jaguar was slightly more ambitious-- and we can close things out with this-- all-electric by 2030. Nine years out with a bunch of electric defenders mixed in, electric Land Rovers-- sure, sounds good. I don't know, to me, this is just another one that was slightly more aggressive. But they're so much smaller than, you know, a company like GM-- I was kind of, like, OK, maybe not the golf clap, but I was like, OK, sure, let's see what you do.

JAMES RISWICK: They seem to-- the I-Pace is sad. That car is so good. They just didn't get any traction at all. Maybe it's just a marketing thing, like I-Pace is not a very good name-- especially when the E-Pace-- e equals electricity, and you name-- that's not what-- the E-Pace is not the electric one. Like, that was probably a marketing failure from their perspective, because that car is really cool. It is very-- it is very-- it's not, like, the most energy-dense, best electric car in the world in terms of electricity and range, yada yada.

But it is fantastic to drive. It is so good. It's-- the packaging is very well done. It's innovative. It looks cool. And it just didn't get-- you just don't hear about it anymore. And it deserved-- it deserves a better fate than it really got.

GREG MIGLIORE: Agreed completely.

JOHN SNYDER: I feel like it might be one of those sort of niche collector cars that 30 years from now, someone's going to be like, oh my gosh, you actually have an I-Pace? That's awesome.

JAMES RISWICK: Fun thing-- the guy who designed the Defender, and who is a great big Defender guy-- he owns, like, a handful of really classic old ones-- big Land Rover off-road guy, lives in the countryside of England-- he designed the I-Pace. So he's like this history of, like, Defender dude, but he also did the I-Pace.

JOHN SNYDER: That's cool.

JAMES RISWICK: Pretty cool. Oh, sorry, didn't design it, he engineered it. Ian Callum designed it. But the engineering of it was also of I-Pace. So it's such a cool range that exists in that company.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's, like, a reasonable car too when you look at some of the stats-- like, $70 grand, 234, 235 miles of range, you're talking almost 400 horsepower. Like, why wouldn't you want this? Like, this is, like, in many ways, every bit as good as some of the Audis, and Porsches, and Mach-E we've been talking about. Talk about brand loyalty-- OK, Tesla, sure, that's cool, but I have yet to meet somebody who is not impressed when I roll up in a Jaguar. I mean, I don't care-- people still like Jaguars. So maybe it's a swing and a miss in the marketing department. But I-Pace seems like a pretty solid execution.

JAMES RISWICK: That car's so much better than the E-Tron sport back. That was a-- beautiful interior in that E-Tron, but to drive it is-- it's weird. It feels kind of small, but then you drive it on a mountain road, and it suddenly feels like a Range Rover. It's so-- it feels so heavy, because it is so heavy, because it weighs as much as Range Rover, actually. It's a good analogy there.

But otherwise, as opposed to-- the Jag's, like, 1,000 pounds lighter-- 1,000, and it's roughly the same size. And it feels it. It's just-- yeah, it's kind of a shame. Yeah, should have come up with a better name.

GREG MIGLIORE: We do have a "Spend My Money," but we'll save it for next week. So I will, you know, again, put out the call-- you have "Spend My Moneys" or questions, please send them to podcast@autoblog.com. We hope you've enjoyed this green edition of "The Autoblog Podcast" where we talked about a little bit of everything. Guys, be safe out there. Everybody, thanks for listening. We'll see you next week.

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